I'll defend the Bioware romances in the Garrus romantic option in ME2. I actually thought that was the best romance of the game because it felt like real character growth for him. It's funny in an awkward sense but grows more touching and personal.
I would like to see better romances in games but like many have said it's hard and has the tendency of being forced into a narrative much like a hollywood movie. I'll use Silent Hill: Homecoming as my example of worst implied romance in a video game.
I think what it really boils down to is how skilled the writers and developed are about working such emotional elements into a game. Naughty Dog currently stands as my best example of natural, believable characters so if there were to be a game with a clear romantic story I consider them to be the best people for the job.
Just you wait till I make my game about me and Drew and our future love! It will be my love letter in game form and I will send him a copy and he will play it and it will sweep him off his feet and we will live happily ever after! That is the games true ending. Just you wait! It will be the most romantic game/anything ever!
Doesn't get any better than this.
But seriously, good romance requires the most attention in a work. The entire point of a good romance is the romance, and games don't translate to that very well because, well, the point of a game is to be a game. What kind of gameplay could accurately translate to the interactions of romantic love, and if that does exist could you convince the mainstream gamer to play it? Yeah, To the Moon is a great example, but it's not like there's a ton of games like that out there.
I think there's plenty of romance in games, but there's barely any well written romance in games. Take Bioware for instance, their romance stories leave a LOT to be desired - it always just boils down to talking to the girl until you can sleep with her, that's it. Let's not even get into Blizzard and what they consider to be "romance". I honestly can't think of a game at the moment that had a good and believable romantic subplot.
Man, looking through the thread, it seems like i'm not the first to use Bioware romance as an example. Bummer.
@tangoup: I seem to remember some sort of Otacon romance angle as well as the relationship between Meryl and the guy who keeps shitting himself. The melodrama in the game goes far beyond just the romance angles though. Like the little girl and her egg cooking scenes. I don't know. I'm trying to block all the horrible writing of MGS 4 from my memory.
I was going to write about the lack of games where characters other than the player are developing relationships. I can see why there is a bias to the 'hero' being the one that everyone falls for after three conversations. Then this afternoon I was thinking about it and it struck me that Mass Effect 3 does this twice, with Joker/EDI and Garrus/Tali.
Dragon Age 2 had one as well, with Aveline and 'Guardsman Donnic'. I especially liked that Aveline as a romance was impossible, too; it made her appear all the more to be her own character, instead of being another potential love conquest for the player.
Probably not, but that has a lot to do with what games are most of the time. I think it would be more interesting if the lighter side of how romance is treated in media (like the romantic comedy template) were included.
The inclusion often feels weird in games, and clashes a bit with everything else going around time-scale wise. Dragon Age 2 with the date jumps was kind of the only one that justified the characters not being strangers, even if it kept that tradition super awkward and creepy Bioware template.
i would like more in better quality. romance has always been a guilty pleasure really, but the characters have to be done right. mass effect for example, just never worked well in believability. shepard was a static brick in personality and the fact that any man/woman would see the appeal in romancing him/her just killed the immersion.
i can't remember enough games where romance was the prime motivator for the story. but i would like to see it become a thing.
The biggest problem with romance in games is most games want it to be a tiny part of the game. Just like a romance novel, just like a romantic movie, much of the content NEEDS to be romance for it to work. If a movie uses 80% of a 120 minuet movie to tell ist romance than 90% of ten hour game needs to be about developing the romance. I'm not even sure teh structure of most romance game from Japan is even that made...they just need to be less weird and embarrassing.
Meet, flirt, talk, go on dates, give gifts, solve problems, avoid fights through dialogue choices, etc. A romance game need not re-invent teh wheel it just has to be put together better and with more care then is currently used. Also, not all game that have romance need to be all about romance, but again they have to do what parts they have about romance better.
More of this please. The one scene that sells the whole thing for me. Wich is later followed up by one of the most shocking scenes in a video-games. (for me anyway)
I also remember being a little anti towards the kinda lovey-dovey-relationship stuff in persona 4, but then I remembered how I was with my first girlfriend and I started to think it was kinda adorable in all its naivety.